12 July 2024

Thailand’s top virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, has expressed his concern that the UK strain of COVID-19, which is now linked to the Thonglor cluster and is spreading through Bangkok and several other provinces, will spread more rapidly during the Songkran festival and may mutate into a local strain that is difficult to eliminate.

His recommendation is for all Thais “to stay home to contain the disease, for the nation” during the Songkran festival next week.

In his Facebook book post on Thursday, Dr. Yong of Chulalongkorn University admitted that the spread of the UK strain in Thailand is unexpected, because Thailand has not fully opened to foreign arrivals and all arrivals are subject to 14 days mandatory quarantine and two COVID-19 tests.

The next important thing, said Dr. Yong, is to be vigilant and to watch out for other new strains, especially those which may affect the efficacy of vaccines available in Thailand or which cause more severe symptoms.

He stressed the need for proactive screening of those linked to clusters of infection, even though it means increased costs.

In India, Dr. Yong said that COVID-19 has spread exponentially and the virus has mutated into numerous strains.

Expressing his serious concern for the long Songkran holiday,when many people will travel extensively, he said that this willcontribute to the further spread of the disease.